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"What's going to happen with the other 12 guys not named LeBron, AD or Russ?" - NBA analyst speculates on LeBron James' mentality going into contract extension talks with Lakers management

LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, left to right, of the LA Lakers on the bench
LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, left to right, of the LA Lakers on the bench

Jalen Rose highlighted what a "productive" meeting between LeBron James and the LA Lakers sounds like after James just had an MVP-caliber season.

The Lakers' brass reportedly had "productive" discussions with King James in the past week regarding his contract extension, ESPN's Dave McMenamin reported. The four-time champion is eligible for a two-year extension this summer, and there is a lot of speculation as to whether he will sign it.

Lakers Nation was obviously happy to hear the word "productive," especially because it's dealing with one demoralizing news story after the other this offseason. However, ESPN's Rose, who played 13 NBA seasons, pointed out that "productive" doesn't necessarily mean James is staying with the franchise. On his ESPN show, "Jalen & Jacoby," he said:

"'Productive' is 'You still want to be there, and they still want you there,' except we're not going to get to a long-term situation today. 'Productive' means 'Y'all continuing to work on this roster, to move Russ.' 'Productive' means 'What's going to happen with the other 12 guys not named LeBron, AD or Russ?' That's really what this is."

James, entering his 20th season, he cannot afford to have disappointing seasons waste what's left of his career while he is still one of the NBA's best.

Let me tell you what a productive meeting sounds like when you are LeBron James.. https://t.co/7NQPMEMxtN

The reality is that James will consider not signing the extension if the Lakers don't look like title contenders. He left all his previous teams for that reason. So, if the Lakers don't improve the roster after just missing the play-in tournament, he will look for a team that can compete for the championship.

Jalen Rose believes LeBron James has the leverage in contract negotiations with the LA Lakers

LeBron James of the LA Lakers
LeBron James of the LA Lakers

ESPN analyst Jalen Rose said LeBron James is not at fault for the horrible seasons the LA Lakers have had because he continued to perform at an elite level.

James averaged 30.3 points per game in his 19th season, never-before-seen from a 37-year-old player before. Meanwhile, the rest of the roster was simply incompetent, to say the least, to contend in the stacked Western Conference. Russell Westbrook was a disaster, and Anthony Davis barely played to make an impact.

Rose believes James should be able to demand the maximum salary because he is the one keeping the team afloat. He said:

"Let me tell you what a productive meeting sounds like when you're LeBron James and the Lakers. 'I'm still an All-NBA performer. I'm under contract currently. You paying me top dollar. Whatever our issues are, ain't me. It's AD's health. It's Russ' contract. We have a new coach. And I've been here four seasons, I delivered a championship.'"

James is possibly waiting and watching how the offseason unfolds and what the roster looks like ahead of training camp. He knows he cannot afford to play on a team that is heading nowhere at his age. Thus, the Lakers' roster-related moves in the coming weeks could determine whether James signs an extension or not.

"I'm told nothing is imminent [in regards to a LeBron James extension with the Lakers.]... You can see LeBron's camp wait to see how things play out with the Los Angeles Lakers' roster leading up to training camp."— Dave McMenaminhttps://t.co/SwkAWffzuv

Additionally, Rose believes that because James cannot sign a long-term deal, he will negotiate for the biggest salary possible. He said:

"If I'm LeBron, I'm trying to get the most money possible, because â€Ļ it's been collectively bullied, slash, bargained that he can't sign a four-year deal once he turns 38."

The Collective Bargaining Agreement prevents players who are over 38 years old from signing four-year extensions. The "Over-38 Rule" in the 2017 CBA essentially limits James to a three-year deal. Because he has one year left on his contract, the extension is only two years long.

Poll : Will LeBron James sign an extension with the LA Lakers?

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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